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Australia’s new Federal Agriculture Minister is visiting Gippsland today on the first day of her four-week listening tour across the nation.

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester is hosting Senator Bridget McKenzie as she travels through the electorate to meet some of the region’s agricultural industry leaders.

Mr Chester said Senator McKenzie would visit the Macalister Irrigation District to learn more about the multi-million dollar modernisation project.

“The Macalister Irrigation District produces world-class dairy and other high-value produce. It is a major source of jobs for our region and contributes an estimated $500 million to the Victorian economy,” Mr Chester said.

In February, Mr Chester secured $31 million from the Federal Government for phase two of the Macalister Irrigation District modernisation project.

“The Federal Government is putting in half of the amount needed to complete phase 2 of the transformation of the MID’s ageing assets,” Mr Chester said.

“Phase 2 will save and reinvest up to 10GL of water back into the rural economy, secure the Newry and Stratford supply networks, boost Gippsland’s output of milk and food, and reduce nutrient discharges to local waterways.

“This is a major infrastructure modernisation project that will deliver more efficient irrigation practices and secure a strong future for the local agricultural sector.

“The Federal Government recognises the importance of this project to Gippsland and Victoria. That’s why we have invested a total of $51 million in this project and why I wanted Bridget to see the work that’s underway here.”

Senator McKenzie will also attend a round table meeting with farmer and local government representatives to discuss challenges, issues and opportunities facing agriculture in Gippsland.

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